Making a New Heaven and Earth

In our increasingly globalized world, many of us don’t need to know how to take apart a car engine or sew curtains. For those with means, it’s easier to pay someone else to do it. But more of us want to know such things, as the modern “Do It Yourself” movement suggests—and not just for the fun of it.

There’s a backlash afoot against the consume-and-dispose culture in which we’re drenched, the stream of products created by anonymous people from anonymous countries, and our increasing awareness that the things we buy and consume often come at the expense of others’ health, livelihoods, and human rights—not to mention the planet.

Make, a magazine dedicated to “celebrating the do-it-yourself spirit,” recently sponsored its third Maker Faire, a two-day event at the San Francisco fairgrounds to which some 500 engineers, doodlers, and dreamers brought their homemade inventions. About 65,000 people watched demonstrations of various projects—some useful, others not so much—and attended workshops on everything from beekeeping to how to make your own shoes. Web sites such as instructables.com, craftster.org, and doityourself. com also cater to those itching to get their hands dirty, as do numerous magazines and TV shows.

“It’s about having a deeper connection with the stuff around you, and through that with the people around you,” David Pescovitz, a research director at the Institute for the Future, told The New York Times.

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Sojourners Magazine August 2008
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